During last night’s game between Houston and Tulane, a situation on the sideline unfolded between Houston head coach Major Applewhite and star player Ed Oliver. The situation that unfolded had people taking sides and stating their cases on social media
Here’s what happened. Oliver, who has been sidelined with an injury for a weeks now, had an oversized jacket on when cameras panned to him on the sideline having a conversation with a Houston staffer who appeared to be trying to get the jacket off of him. Applewhite comes in a few moments later clearly telling Oliver to take the jacket off, and at his post game presser Applewhite explained that the reason behind that was that the jackets are for guys that are playing to put on over their pads, and for starters in particular. Ed wasn’t playing, therefore he shouldn’t have a jacket on.
The situation escalated when, while heading into the locker room at halftime, a heated Oliver had to be restrained by players and staff. Following halftime, Oliver didn’t come back out with the team.
See the video to watch it unfold.
— RJ Marquez (@KSATRJ) November 16, 2018
My first impression of the video incident from a coaches perspective was Applewhite was defending the culture he’s trying to create at Houston. Everyone is treated the same. No one is bigger than the program. It would have been really easy to pretend he didn’t see his star player getting preferential treatment, but he didn’t. As I learned after tweeting that stance, not everyone – including those in the coaching community – agrees with that stance.
After the game, Applewhite was asked about it and handled the entire situation really, really well, explaining that he and his staff went around and asked a few guys who had jackets on to take them off, and in an effort to be fair to everyone, he asked Oliver to do the same.
“You know, Ed got emotional. He’s young and that’s what happens. He’s not playing and that’s hard and that’s difficult. I don’t hold anything against anyone. I’ll just visit with him about it. I love him, I want him to be a part of our team and be with our team.”
“It’s really nothing more than that. You’d be amazed at how many emotional things you deal with all the time with players, this is just one you happen to see.”
Asked about Oliver leaving the team at halftime, Applewhite responded but noting that his focus was on the second half before adding, “It hurt that he had left. I want him back. I want him a part of our football team. If he wants to play, I want him to play.”
See Applewhite’s full response below.
Houston coach Major Applewhite addresses sideline incident involving All-America DT Ed Oliver pic.twitter.com/poz6eqeu88
— Joseph Duarte (@Joseph_Duarte) November 16, 2018
Update: Houston has released statements from Applewhite and Oliver.
From Houston coach Major Applewhite and DT Ed Oliver. pic.twitter.com/miegzEggF5
— Ralph D. Russo (@ralphDrussoAP) November 17, 2018